If you go by the book, the combined opposition in the National Assembly of Pakistan certainly has the right and the required numbers to enforce a National Assembly session upon the government.

It can rather manage holding of a National Assembly session, at least twice a month.

While forcing the summoning of an assembly sitting, however, the opposition has to clearly imagine the political dividends of exercising this right.

Doing this, it also needs to realize that the government savors absolute authority for setting the duration, and the agenda, even for the sessions enforced upon it.

Little wonder, the Tuesday-sitting that the number strong opposition had enforced upon the Imran government miserably failed to generate energy or a heated debate.

Both the lead stars of the opposition, Shehbaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, did not feel motivated for traveling to Islamabad for a three-hour session. In their absence, Khawaja Asif of the PML-N tried hard to set an engaging agenda.

He indeed is an articulate and very experienced parliamentarian. The speech he delivered Tuesday, however, smacked of a wailing mindset.

The operative theme of his speech wanted us to believe that to “divert” people’s  attention from the doom and gloom that the “IMF-dictated budget” had brought to Pakistan, the Imran government had turned vicious and vindictive. Nawaz Sharif in jail does not appear enough for it.

The proverbial heat was now on to “implicate” Shehbaz Sharif and his sons in multiple cases of corruption. Saad Rafique is already in jail and so is the PPP leader, Asif Ali Zardari.

As if that were not enough to sate the spiteful ire, a very vocal member of the PML-N, Rana Sanaullah, had also been “shown arrested” while traveling to Lahore, allegedly with a huge quantity of heroin in his vehicle.

While feeling as if being pushed to the wall, the opposition feels doubly disappointed with the conduct of Asad Qaiser, the Speaker. He had stopped signing the production orders to ensure presence of the detained members of the National Assembly in house proceedings.

Most of the parliamentary business is conducted through its committees, which frequently meet to prepare laws to ensure effective governance.

In the name of “austerity,” the parliamentary committees are now being asked not to hold meetings when the house is not in session.

The real objective, however, is to stop various opposition leaders, spending time in NAB’s custody or in jails, from being visible, and available to media, while coming to Islamabad in the name of “attending parliamentary business.”

Even if you genuinely buy the story Khawaja Asif kept spinning with a passionate heart, there hardly was anything new or surprising in his speech.

Delivering an extempore speech after the passage of his government’s first budget late last month, Prime Minister had clearly conveyed to the opposition that he could just not forget and forgive the doings of Asif Ali Zardaris and Sharifs of this world.

He continues to firmly believe that during their turns in successive governments since 2008, they indulged in ruthless loot and plunder.

Imran Khan refuses to recognize them as “politicians.” To him, they are but “hardened criminals” who continue imagining as if they can “blackmail” him and his government with their “Mafioso-style.”

The Prime Minister also vowed to ensure that Zardaris and Sharifs are not allowed to deliver “windy and hypocritical speeches,” while taking advantage of the production order that the Speaker had been signing to facilitate their coming to the National Assembly.

Like it or not, the Imran government is diligently executing the agenda, set by the said speech these days. In the given context, the opposition should forget extracting mercy from the Speaker, while pleading to his “neutral” status.

Ostensibly, the opposition had enforced the Tuesday-sitting to take on the unbearable wave of inflation, visibly unleashed by the first budget of Imran government.

An overwhelming majority of the salaried classes and small business owners feel doubly despondent due to a sluggish economy. The government’s drive for more revenues and broadening the tax net made things to look gloomier on the economic front.

The opposition surely wants to get connected with anxiety-ridden mass of our people through its conduct in the National Assembly.

Spinning the counter-narrative, the PTI ministers and backbenchers, however, continue forcefully drumming the theme that “ruthless loot and plunder” of the previous governments from 2008 and 2018 are essentially responsible for the current doom and gloom.

Imran government has yet to complete its first year anyway. It does not have a magic wand to correct things overnight. It needs to execute a long-term plan to first “stabilize” and then turn the economy around.

To achieve the same, the IMF had prescribed a road map. Disregarding the political blowback of it, the Imran government had “bravely” owned it and felt no shame to outsource its execution to IMF-trusted Dr Hafeez Shaikh and Raza Baqir.

The economic scene is gloomy for sure, the ministers admit candidly. But they also insist that the government can’t furnish immediate solace. It, however, is firmly committed to identify and punish “the culprits,” responsible for pushing Pakistan to dire straits.

This narrative surely appeals to corruption-hating base of the PTI. It also caters to accumulated rage that apolitical types also feel for the political elite.

The narrative, the number-strong opposition wants to sell through wailing speeches in the National Assembly, does not seem taking off in the given context.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and his loyalists feel too good and comfortable, also for strongly believing that non-elected pillars of our state fully endorse and support their narrative and strategy.

After taking the IMF on board, the Imran government is now eagerly expecting to reset Pakistan’s relations with the US, thanks to the meeting that is scheduled for July 22 between the US President and Pakistan’s Prime Minister in Washington.

The opposition, on the other hand, hardly has any hope inducing story. Probably to establish the “vulnerability” and “shaky foundations” of the Imran government, it had decided to remove the Senate Chairman, Sadiq Sanjrani, through a vote of no confidence.

If you go by the numbers in the upper house of parliament, the opposition should be able to remove him without much ado; the combined opposition relishes the clear numerical edge there.

Yet, the government decided to get rid of the PPP-nominated Deputy Chairman of the Senate, Saleem Mandiwala, through a counter move for no confidence.

Prime Minister did not hesitate for a second to publicly own the counter move. To ensure that Sanjrani stays put as the Senate Chairman, two chief ministers were recently in town to furnish the backup support.

Rumors are rife among parliamentary reporters that not less than “10 senators,” currently sitting on the opposition benches have discreetly switched sides. They are expected to vote in support of the government during the secret balloting.

Yet, the government still needs to manage “at least 8” more senators to ensure its victory in the game set for the Senate.

The sources I talked to felt too confident while predicting that the government is all set to turn tables in the end.

The opposition has yet to realize the disheartening message, it might convey by losing the game set for the Senate, in spite of relishing a clear and visibly “unmanageable” numerical edge in that house.